I’ve been a fan of J. Michael Straczynski since I was five, though I didn’t know that until I was closer to 25. I grew up on He-Man, written for kids without pandering to kids. Then I moved on to The Real Ghostbusters. From there, I latched on to Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a children’s show set in a dystopian future with serialized storytelling. Let me repeat: it was a children’s show set in a dystopian future with serialized storytelling. Add in a couple of the stronger seasons of Murder, She Wrote, and I had consumed far more of his writing than I realized before I heard the words Babylon 5. By the time I heard enough positive things to give that show a chance, it was in season four, and my emphatic distaste for spoilers kept me away until I had the chance to watch it from the start. That happened on DVD, and those reviews are in the archives of this website. Add in his comic book and movie work, and I thought I knew something of the man through his writing. The picture I had of him wasn’t wrong, per se, but it was astonishingly incomplete. This is an autobiography of a man who lived a truly incredible life.
Margaret Atwood’s name already had become synonymous with Canadian Literature when, in 1985, she took an unexpected turn and wrote a dystopian satire. It proved an international sensation, encouraged her to write other works that would be considered SF, and birthed a bad movie, a graphic novel, and an initially excellent prestige series.
In 2019, a sequel appeared.
What follow is an account, as I choose to remember it, of my twelfth year on this planet…
Brain matter will squeeze through a keyhole.
We’re a bit behind for a review of this 2018 novel, a sort-of literary/YA Stranger Things set in Niagara Falls, Canada, but it has experienced a surge of popularity this autumn, and so, before we get too far into winter, let’s return to the 1980s and the summer-to-Halloween run of the Saturday Night Ghost Club.
We returned to Lockless with a horse, for that is what he traded Rose for. He had taken my mother from me. But it was not enough. He took my memory of her too, for when we left, my father in more rage than I had ever seen in him, he took the shell necklace from me. And I ran from him. And the next morning I ran down to the stables, where I saw the same horse my mother had been traded for, and there by the trough of water, I felt my first inclination of what I give to you now—- Conduction (397).
Ta-Nehisi Coates gained fame as a journalist and author of non-fiction books– and then as a writer for Marvel’s Black Panther. His first novel, published early this autumn, blends fantasy/magic realism with American history, and it found its way into Oprah’s influential Book Club.
You didn’t think we could let the 40th anniversary of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy pass without at least a little comment, did you? Fortunately, Nature does a much better job of summarizing its (and Douglas Adams’) impact on society than I could.
Feel free to comment on how H2G2 has influenced your life.
In Kim Stanley Robinson’s most recent novel, he takes us to the moon as he once did to Mars, and it seems likely we’re witnessing the start of a new series.
The moon, it seems, is a harsh-ish mistress.
The small beam of white light shone steadily into the left eye of Rachael Rosen, and against her cheek the wire-mesh disk adhered. She seemed calm.
We find ourselves a week into August and we haven’t run a Summer Review of a classic SF novel. So, if you’re heading out to do some sunlit reading and you’ve never scoped the novel that inspired Blade Runner (a movie set in 2019!), consider, between Pan-Galactic sips from a plastic cup, trying to answer Philip K. Dick’s lingering question, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
If you encounter any discussion of Man Booker1 prize-winner Marlon James’s recent fantasy novel, you will hear two things: one, that it’s a sort of Game of Thrones set in Africa, and two, that the description doesn’t really do justice to it. In any case, the noteworthy novel represents the first part of The Dark Star Trilogy.
It’s a very dark start, with frequent graphic violence, sex, and sexual violence.
This 2019 novelette, published by Tor, relates the tale of early-twentieth workers exposed to radioactive material—as it might have transpired if elephants were sentient.
It won the Nebula, and has been nominated for the Hugo, Shirley Jackson, Locus, and Theodore T. Sturgeon Awards.
So, is it a musth-read?